Saturday, May 24, 2014


The best day of the week during term time is Saturday. We've had lots of happy times during the week, but I am so, so tired every day. Layer upon layer of exhaustion build each day, so Friday afternoon is a great relief. 

Today the threat of windy and generally unpleasant weather loomed, so I headed out to see darling Zanny late in the morning when the wind was a light breeze. She had a serious appointment with the farrier this week, and her problem hoof had a bit of creative carving to the hoof wall to remove a nasty bit. I am pleased with how her hooves look as they are neater than usual. We have a new farrier, so I am hoping he is passionate about his work. Tara's hooves look much better too, and she is not lame like last week. Poor darling. It was ghastly to see her in so much pain from an evil abscess. 

Zanny was a bit jumpy before I climbed on, but she was fabulous to ride, and very happy. We had so much fun working on my position at trot. We cantered a bit, and I was bouncy again today. Zanny didn't seem to mind too much, but had a spring in her step as we headed back to the stable. I have to remind her to pay attention down the path by the pine trees, because she can be so excited about heading home that she doesn't notice the tree roots that ripple the entire track. After she nearly did a face-plant I am strict about reminding her to be careful. 

When I got home I worked on the Fergus and Mouse quilt. It always feels rather indulgent starting to piece another quilt, with the company of  favourite DVD. Today it was Call the Midwife Series 2.
 I have pieced strips, and now need to iron then join the strips.

I hung up my wee flower garland. Cute, isn't it? Note the Easter bunnies that simply refuse to go back into their box.
 I added a couple of chintz treasures to my collection recently. I adore the poppy and cornflowers on this wee dish. The colours sing together.
 And at last I have a piece of Sweetpea chintz. Simply gorgeous.
Hope it is fine tomorrow for another ride. But if not, I guess that means more time in the craft room.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Home Sweet Home

We've had Fergus, AKA Mr Kitten, for a week now, and he is happily settled, as you can see. Of course, he does require some bedding of his own. With plenty of fabric in this lovely bundle I put together at the craft show a few months ago, I think I will make a quilt for both boys to share. Mr Mouse will suit these colours too. They are mostly American Jane fabrics, with the smaller floral print from October Afternoon. 
 Mr Kitten didn't require any convincing. He insisted on giving them a test-drive.
 I think the October Afternoon print might be his favourite. I love the other dot and floral from the School Days range by American Jane. I'd love a dress in it. Mr Kitten's favourite would make a lovely blouse. We've only got fat quarters, sadly.
 I spent some time cutting 4.5 inch squares, which I hoped I'd have joined today, but after a brief shopping outing, a visit to see my horsey girls (which included a bit of battle to put a poultice on Tara's hoof- she's having abscess trouble too), plus planting a ridiculous amount of silver beet and spinach, the day was gobbled up.

Mr Kitten knows how to relax on a weekend afternoon.
 I am fascinated by his wee Birman slippers.
 Ahhhh- stretching out. I knew I made those cushions for a reason!
 Mr Kitten has slept a lot today. Maybe he is going through a growth spurt, or possibly his big first week with us has caught up with him.

It was rather dank out in the backyard this afternoon. Everything is damp and the soil clings to the trowel and boots. It wasn't particularly cold, but felt like we are moving steadily towards winter. Oh roses, pansies and spring bulbs, I look forward to seeing you glowing in the sunshine once again.
That reminds me, I must buy lots of violas and pansies. I guess my Easter bunnies should head back to their burrows soon, but they have been trying to convince me that they are too pretty to hide away. I think they might be right! The wee Tilda fabric quilt in the lower left corner winged its way to live with my fabulous sister. It is fun to share a bit of quilty love with a special person.

I need to do some sewing during the week so that Mr Kitten and Mr Mouse will have their new quilt. I managed to find some snuggly wool batting to use at a good price. Motivation is high!!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mr Kitten settles in

It has been a big day for our little man. He has checked out his new territory, and found plenty of places to rest.
 He has played the piano for the first time. He even drew blood! Oops - Johnny's finger got in the way of a game.
 He has made friends too. Mr Mouse is rather pleased to have a brother, I think.
 Mr Kitten has worked out that the enormous black dog is actually very friendly and harmless. Just like his brother, Mr Kitten likes to drink out of my water glass. He loves cuddles and is quite clumsy. He's also vociferous, and announces his requirements to his new slaves in no uncertain terms. I am surprised at how loud his voice is, but it is handy to know when he wants something. He tells us when he's hungry, needs the toilet and when he is looking for someone. Dear little man. He has firmly established himself as a member of the family already.

I was excited to find this gorgeous book when I was out and about last week.
 It has the sweetest projects in it, and I want to make so many of them that it had to come home with me. It is by Helen Philipps, who has her lovely blog here.
 I adore the fabrics she uses, and all of the sweet things she makes. I decided to have a go at making my own flower garland over the weekend.
 My wee "flowers" are a bit wonky where I sewed them shut and didn't push enough stuffing in, but they are cute wee things. I even had similar fabrics to the ones Helen used to make her ones. Once I have found a place to hang my garland, I'll have to show you the completed project.

I was pleased with our wee ANZAC tribute at school. My blog doesn't usually enter school territory, but these projects were so successful I'd love to share. We made delicious ANZAC biscuits.
 Everyone painted a huge red poppy.
 And for Mother's Day we made poppy brooches and sewed the button in the middle on to join the felt petals and leaves together.
Not sure if the mums will wear them, but they made a pretty sweet gift. My teenage students have special needs and it is a big challenge to create things like these, but everyone was really engaged and pleased with their creations.

I hope everyone has a creative week!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Hoof trouble

Apologies for the lack of newsy, crafty post this weekend, but there was a bit of drama with Zanny, so I was traumatised. Actually, she has a hoof abscess, which is not a horse health emergency, but they are incredibly painful. Imagine the pain of an infection under your toe or fingernail. I arrived at her paddock and she was lying down not moving. She was taking the weight off her poor hoof. 

I soaked Zanny's hoof in hot water and epsom salts, then Emily had a good look and tried to find the potential exit point. No luck, but she took her shoe off and applied a poultice, cleverly using a disposable nappy taped on. The hoof was covered with a special boot. Today I took the poultice off and soaked it again. The Zanny decided she was fine and strode purposefully up the paddock, so hopefully the abscess busted out somewhere while the poultice was on. 

Tara has also had not one, but two abscesses. The first one has resolved after treatment, and you can see the wee hole where it drained from. The second came up today, and when I looked for it I found a very sore spot on her heel area which looks evil. It may have started draining but Tara was insistent that it was too sore to fiddle with. Poor wee lady. 

I'm wondering why both girls have had abscesses, but I think there is no more sinister explanation than the damp conditions we have had lately. The girls have a lot of firm ground in their huge paddock, but when it rains for days there is a lot of mud around the gate end of the paddock, plus there is a very swampy area at the far end. 

I love doing horsey first aid. It is fascinating. Of course Zanny is a very co-operative and grateful patient. Tara less so, but still pretty good. It would be quite a dangerous business with some horses. 

This Mother's Day has also been rather exciting because, after rather a long wait, I am a mother again. 

Rather unexpectedly we brought home another furry son today. We thought we'd just get to visit, but he was so pleased to see us that we decided not to muck around.  His name is Fergus (we think- we're still deciding). Mr Mouse is very curious and the wee man is super relaxed and very purry and cuddly, so the cat introductions have gone really smoothly. Fergus is an extremely special Birman kitten. He is my Bucket List Birman. I've wanted one since I first saw one as a child.

 I am delighted that Fergus is such an affectionate, happy little fellow. I'm rather surprised at his loud voice! Not up there with the yowl of a Siamese or Oriental, but very expressive and purposeful. I'm sure there will be lots more to discover as we get to know him well. 

Oh and best loves to my darling Mummy who is simply the best!!! 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

With thanks to the beautiful Greengate. If my world was full of goodies from Greengate, I'd be very happy indeed!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

We come to the end

It has been a heavenly holiday. Just what I needed, as the first term this year was rather long and stressful at times. I have been so excited about creating, and focused on several projects I had either put on the back burner, or had bought fabric for, but hadn't started. I had a charm pack of Moda Potluck squares that I planned to turn into a little wall quilt for Johnny's office (where our dear wee nephew and hopefully nieces stay when they visit). The fabrics are so bright and cheerful, with a 1930's feel. I arranged the squares in 2x2 blocks of matching colours then sewed the strips together. 
 There was some unpicking - yes, I'm now a real quilter. My unpicker has been thoroughly utilised over the past two weeks. I stuffed up the order of one row and ended up with two matching squares together. Curses!!!
I made the quilt sandwich while watching The Darling Buds of May.

Then I quilted it with squiggles, in threads to match the blocks.
 I have vowed to work on my photography. I really need to do better.

I was very pleased with how the quilting turned out, and would love to use these fabrics to make some blouses or dresses.
 Look - wee chickens!!!!

 Even cuter yellow chickens!
 I was given the green spot fabric that I used for the backing a while ago. Hanging on the wall it won't be seen, but I was so pleased with the quilt that I couldn't use something ugly. The binding is a dear wee spot too. Bigger spots are not such a good idea for binding because any wobbly sewing shows up in the line of spots. I know from experience. Wee dots are fine for slightly disorderly types like myself.
 Apart from some unfortunate machine needle snapping and catapulting, my machine did a lovely job, and I'm even pleased with the reverse side quilting stitches.

Onto another project I had in the pipeline. The pretty small hexagon English pieced quilt, which is expanding merrily. I adore these fabrics, which are a blend of Lecien Sugar Flower, Pam Kitty and other scraps from the stash. They have a summery feel about them. I think this project will take a few more weeks to reach the quilt construction stage. I'm not sure about quilting it. Any ideas?
 I have quite a few Kaffe Fassett Collective fabrics in my stash, and a long time ago I started hand quilting three fat quarters to make cushions. I finally finished all of them over the holidays.
 They make up part of my warm winter nest on the couch. I have seen some divine crocheted cushions on other wonderful blogs that would look right at home in the nest. With wee flowers! So pretty.

The third cushion was perfect for quilting, with great big lotus leaves, and pointy flowers to outline. Yummy colours too.
 All three cushions are backed with dark navy denim. They are so comfy! I have one more on the go, and ideas for more. I'm sure you can never have too many cushions.

Mr Mouse is a huge fan of my quilts. He especially loves the red Kaffe quilt along the back of the couch.
 Look at those furry paws. So perfect!
So, at this point I have the small hexagon quilt well underway. I have cut the hexagons for a machine pieced larger hexagon quilt. I have one hand quilted cushion underway. The fabric for a quilt in 1930's style fabrics for the bed in Johnny's room is awaiting a design. There is also a blue Kaffe quilt top pieced, but I have plans to modify that before making it into a quilt. It will be fabulous, I'm sure. Finally, I have fabric to make an extremely pretty Tilda quilt. Then there are all of the ideas.... I really don't have time to go back to work.

I hope you have a lovely week, and will do my best to check in frequently with more posts.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

On my knee tonight

Yes, another edition of craft in action. Apologies for photos being a little lacking in sharpness. Ipad just doesn't cut it for blog photos, but it is so easy. 

Tonight I'm working on another hand quilted cushion. 

This is the fourth of these cushion panels I have tackled over the holidays. I have had them lying around for ages, and when I decided to finish some neglected projects, these came to the top of the list. I'll have a summary of works carried out in the holidays tomorrow. This one wont be finished, as it is too much fun to hurry, but I do have a gorgeous one I haven't shared yet. I hope you don't get too excited to sleep while waiting!!! 

A big box isn't the best way of organising threads, but I do love digging through all of the reels to find the perfect colour for quilting. I must confess that I use whatever thread matches in colour to the area I am quilting, regardless of the quality. I was given many of these, and lots are lovely vintage ones. I have discovered that my sewing machine throws wobblies with cheap polyester threads. Actually yesterday it was highly upset after I accidentally hit a quilting pin, snapping the needle. I inserted a new needle, started again and a second needle snapped, shooting across the room. Safety glasses crossed my mind as I headed in for another go, but all was well. The second needle must have had a flaw in it. 

Mr Mouse discovered a hidey hole as close to me as he could be. 
He popped himself into one of the shelves in my craft desk. He loves to sit on my chair, or on quilts I'm trying to machine quilt, so I have had to put the big beanbag right next to me while I amd sewing so that he can snuggle happily. Miss Dog is never far away. 

We mustn't forget to mention my other darling animal friend. Mrs Zanny and I had a lovely relaxing ride out around the triangle block today. She was in a jolly mood, and she was a fabulous companion. Unfortunately she has another loose shoe, which was temporarily tacked back in place. Hopefully she'll keep it on for another few days until the farrier comes. I returned home with two lovely pumpkins from the farm pumpkin patch. The crop totalled more than 70!!!! Pumpkins love rotted horse poo, and the farm pumpkins grow on an old manure pile that has been flattened out. 

Tomorrow is the last day of the holidays. Every day has been a joy. I'm so looking forward to the next one already.